'Homely roles suit me best' - Gopika

Oct 9, 2006 PVS

After "Autograph", it is "Em Magan" now running, which has helped homely Gopika to carve a niche for herself in Tamil Cinema. While Cheran's "Autograph" shot Gopika into fame, "Em Magan" brought her closer to the audience with her charming presence in this film. She has portrayed a variety of roles in "Kana Kandaen", "Ponniyan Selvan", "Thotti Jaya" and "Aran". Gopika has now come to be considered as a lively, attractive girl next door.

After "Autograph", she had to wait for long for her next chance. She was, however, not disheartened. "Slow and steady wins the race' Gopika said in an interview given while she was in Chennai to shoot for an advertisement.

She is naturally endowed with friendly, happy disposition. Soft smile all the time is her hallmark. Even when driven to the wall at times, she keeps her calm and remains cool and composed. Beautiful but simple is yet another adjective that can be used to describe her.

She talked about her life, films and aspirations during the interview.

A student of St. Raphael's School at Thrissur, Kerala, Gopika was crowned "Miss Raphael" at the beauty contest held in connection with the school's farewell party. She was the first runner-up at another beauty contest held later. One of the judges, Thaha, chose her to do modeling assignments which got her wide media publicity.Seeing her photos in magazines, Director Tulasidass offered her the lead role in his "Pranayamanithooval" which had two heroes, Jayasurya and Vineet Kumar.

The very next offer came from Cheran and she made her debut in Tamil through his "Autograph". I was both thrilled and nervous" when Cheran asked me to play Lathika in "Autograph" she said. "My acting as Lathika has become a talk of the town" and the film itself became a runaway hit. It did well in Kerala also.

Cheran and her initial success boosted her confidence. "I have realized that homely roles suit me best," she said. "There are so many shades to such characters which will be challenging to portray." She selects the banner and the director carefully. She cited "Em Magan" as an example and said she played a different kind of role and appeared only in the second half of the film and still scored with "my expressions."

Talking about her impressions of the Tamil film industry, Gopika said "I am absolutely happy". "Autograph" removed her misgivings that only glamour mattered, not even talent and good looks. "Now I am convinced that performance alone matters".

According to her, the Tamil film industry is characterized by good stories with good characters, sophisticated technology and hardworking directors.

Gopika said Tulasidass, who directed her first film in Malayalam, was not happy with her voice. But Cheran encouraged her to speak her lines in both Tamil and Telugu versions of "Autograph". "I would rather dub for my films. Otherwise, the character is not complete" she said. She would insist on delivering her dialogue herself "if and when I get an opportunity to act in a parallel film."

Gopika has done more than 25 films in south Indian languages of which 15 in Malayalam, half a dozen in Tamil, the same number in Telugu and one in Kannada.

Her strong desire is to act under the direction of Mani Ratnam and Bala. Her aim is to do "memorable roles" like Lathika in "Autograph".

Gopika is now acting in a Malayalam film "Pothan Viva" with Mammooty and pop singer Usha Uthup.

Her pastime: computer and TV, travel and shopping.

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